In an exciting turn of events that you may have seen on sister station News-Talk 1340 KROC-AM, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce has announced their new Interim President - a woman. Meet Kathleen Harrington. You may have seen her name associated with numerous local endeavors related to government relations and the Mayo Clinic. The Chamber has had a female President before, Mary Clare Olson from 2000-2001.

An ad hoc group led by Vice Chair Greg House, Chamber’s Executive Committee and other Board members worked hard over the last couple of weeks to find an interim President. The full Board of Directors approved Harrington.

“Kathleen’s background with workforce and business development issues, regulatory reform and working with multiple stakeholders really impressed us and we believe her skills will benefit our members,” House said. “I know she is eager to gather member input and understand how the Chamber can best advocate for our members.”

Harrington announced her retirement from Mayo Clinic recently and will divert her focus now to the Chamber in the coming weeks. Harrington is not new to the business and civic sector. Her experience in business, civic, education and government leadership roles has earned her mutual respect among peers.

“I am honored to serve the Chamber membership and I am excited about where our community and businesses are headed. The energy and passion that surrounds Rochester and Southeast Minnesota is tremendous and I look forward to channeling that energy for the benefit of our members and the community,” Harrington said. “I believe my background working at the intersection of government and business issues will help me in service to the Chamber."

“Chamber members want to ensure the voice of the business community is heard and is able to help shape the region,” Harrington said. “I am committed to ensuring our membership is getting the service and advocacy that they have come to expect. I’ve met with the Chamber staff and I am confident that they will continue their great work in service to this organization.”

We're seeing lots of good buzz around the selection of Harrington. We'll keep you posted on her efforts and leadership.